Phase 2 and beyond

12 06 2007

Phase 2 and beyond: UKSSP potential future projects.

Once Phase 1 of the Ascension Project is complete, the UKSSP will embark on its own R&D programs for space missions.

At this stage possible future programs are only in the ideas/concept stage. (All will be released as near-future style addons).

UKSSP intends for all its space vessels to be modular in design, with each component being as small and light as possible to allow for cheaper launches from lighter rockets. Whether a purpose built rocket is designed, or whether existing launchers are to be adapted for future vessels is as yet undecided.

 

Solar Array Nano Capacitors (SANCap)

This project aims to create an orbital facility which can generate a high power output, which can charge electric based space vessels, in an attempt to remove the need for heavy fuels to be moved to orbit.

This project would contain 3 main components:

1) A Modular solar array vessel that can be launched to SSI orbit for generation of constant solar power. Units will be linked with each other to expand total solar array area.

2) A modular central hub that the arrays connect to, and that collects all the power generated by the arrays.

3) High capacity/long life Nano-capacitor modules that will be docked to the central hub and charged from the arrays.

The capacitors would then be used as an electric power supply for other space projects. Such as next generation electric propulsion engines. The intent is to aim for a similar orbit around the Moon, instead of Earth, in order to bring power to lunar surface facilities or other lunar projects. A ‘drop-ship’ style unmanned shuttle would ferry the capacitors back and forth between the surface.

Real world info:

SSI orbit

Nano capacitors

more nano caps

 

Solar Array Microwave Transmitter (SAMiT)

This project would work in conjunction with, or instead of, component 3 of the SANCap project. A separate transmitter unit would attach to the central hub and transmit power to Earth via microwaves. However, this would also require a sizable ground station in a remote area to receive the transmission, so this project is also being looked at for a way to power a lunar base instead. Such a transmitter would either require GEO for constant transmission of power, at the expensive of constant solar exposure, or SSI for constant solar exposure at the expense of limited transmission time. So, SAMit and SANCap system are being comparatively studied for feasibility.

Real world info:

microwave transmitter satellite

 

Electric/alternate propulsion engines:

The UKSSP is keen to develop an alternative power source propulsion system that can reduce the need for chemical propellants to be moved to orbit. The company currently has feasibility studies underway for next generation Ion and plasma type engines.

These engines would be used for space flight from orbit, to ferry around other UKSSP modules. It’s first implementation would likely be as a small shuttle craft to be used as a space tug.

Real world info:

Advanced propulsion concepts

Ion

 

Lunar Exploration Project (LEP)

The first stage of a lunar program would be to design and launch exploration modules to study in more detail areas of interest. Vessels would include:

Satellites with advanced surface study equipment.

Lunar rovers with regolith analysis equipment.

The aim would be to gain information vital to further missions, such as analysing exactly what compounds, chemicals and ores can be drawn from the moon.

Real world info:

Lunar Regolith

 

Lunar Habitation:

The UKSSP has the moon as it ultimate target for operations. It has many ideas for lunar surface bases that would be powered by solar arrays. Simulations are being done to compare a surface based solar array with an orbital station, such as SANCap.

Surface module concepts include:-

-Lunar regolith processing plant (RePro). An electrically fuelled, automated facility to convert lunar regolith into useful elements, such as oxygen, silicon and aluminium.

-Storage Facilities, to collect and store the processed components from the RePro.

-Habitation and science modules, once the storage facilities are stocked with supplies.

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